First female coach in WHL history hits the ice in Moose Jaw
MOOSE JAW -- The first woman to hold a full time coaching position in WHL history took to the ice for her first practice with the Moose Jaw Warriors on Monday.
Olivia Howe was hired to be a coaching assistant with the Warriors last week. The former Clarkson University forward won an Esso Cup with the Notre Dame Hounds and went on to coach the women’s team at her alma mater.
"I thought it was a great opportunity that I could take and that it would get a little bit of attention, but it's kind of blown up a little more than I expected,” said Howe.
The precedent setting hire has been met with some buzz, being the first time in the WHL’s 53 year history a woman has joined an organization as a coach.
“I was talking to my sister yesterday, and she said something about how it was a "man’s position". And I was like ‘why does it have to be?’ Just because it's the men's game doesn't mean it needs to be a role fulfilled by a man,” said Howe.
She was offered the position by Warriors General Manager Alan Millar after guest coaching at training camp. Head Coach Tim Hunter said Howe’s experience as a player and coach will help the team overall.
“She has presence on the ice, she speaks to the players directly, and she has a firm direct message. When you're in front of a group of guys, they want leadership, they want direction, and she's shown all that,” said Hunter.
Howe says she wished she had reached out about the position sooner, but hopes more women will be able to make the leap to the WHL.
“Females have great resumes as well, and I don't think maybe we're comfortable enough asking for those jobs yet, or putting ourselves out there trying to step out of the regular, the norm,” said Howe.